The team showcased talent from all of its players against BB&N, according to Head Coach Lisa Joel. The team practiced game-like drills leading up to the scrimmage.
“We were playing BB&N, who is a top class-A team, so we were excited about that level of competition. I think it allowed the coaches to really see some of these pieces now in competitive play. Playing an opponent is great [to] gauge what’s the work that we need to do. I think it really highlighted some of the work that we need to do as a team, going into our training sessions,” said Joel.
In anticipation for the home-opener on Wednesday, the team practiced its offensive positioning and worked with its new goalie, according to Emma Fogg ’21, who was awarded “Player of the Game” by the coaches on Sunday.
“[Goalkeeper] Emily [Hardy ’20] now has a concussion, so we’re really looking forward to getting some shots on Sofia [Traversari ’23] just to get her excited…Now Sofia is the primary starter tomorrow until Emily gets better. So we’re doing some possession, more offensive-minded, basically just going over like what our strategy is to play Groton,” said Fogg.
Kendall Toth ’23 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We have been focusing on what we needed to work on based on our performance during the game. Some examples include possession work, defensive shape, and quick transitions. We have been working hard on those aspects, as well as others to become better and more prepared.”
Leading up to its first two games, the team attended Team Prep Camp prior to the start of school, as well as a week of preseason on campus. According to Joel, the returning players brought a high-level of intensity to those practices.
“I think what was exciting for us is team prep and our preseason, in terms of where we felt really far along. The team that came back… the group of returners really put in the time off-season such that they were ready to jump in, they were fit, they were focused. So we had a really excellent Team Prep and preseason. It felt like we were a little farther along than we normally are.”
The team added eight new players to the roster this year, including former JV players. According to Joel and new team-member Emily Kelly ’22, the team has been focusing on bonding in these opening weeks in order to play more cohesively.
Kelly said, “[Preseason] was a lot of team bonding, and it wasn’t [necessarily] about fitness. It was more about actual soccer, which was really nice. It was… a lot of touches on the ball. We worked on our first touch, and in practices recently, we’ve been working on our defensive shape and trying to feel each other out, like how each style works for everyone.”
“We were very excited to bring up four players from our JV program, which I think is really important to [the team]. It’s been a big part of our success…Our last five years’ worth of captains have come from the JV program, so that program as a feeder program is really important to us, so we’re excited to welcome three Lowers and one Upper, and then we have two Juniors. It’s always exciting to have younger players because we like to build the program from the bottom as well…we’re really psyched that Nicola [Sommers PG’20] joined the Senior class,” said Joel.
She continued, “What we are trying to focus on as a team is really exploiting our strengths…We’re trying to get this group of players to read each other well, so our training really focuses on small-sided games…As we say, the game will be easier if you can anticipate what your teammates do, if you know what we want to do strategically.”
On Saturday, the team will face Rivers at home.